A Breakdown: Google Analytics v.s. Google Analytics 360
Google Analytics is a free web platform service offered by Google that tracks and reports on onsite activities such as pages per session, user defined conversion actions, bounce rate, and more. Just one of many tools under the Google name that businesses can leverage depending on their specific needs, Google Analytics is constantly evolving to enable marketers to make stronger, data-driven decisions. With updates including new insights based off last click attribution, cross-domain measurements in web data streams, new predicted revenue metric updates, and its new tool called ‘Analytics Intelligence’, Google Analytics’ updates over the last 18 months highlight how this free tool has progressed to better meet market demands.
All that said, to better meet the needs of brands with more complicated analytics needs, Google created Google Analytics 360 (GA 360). GA 360 allows for greater flexibility when creating custom metrics and negates the smaller limitations and customization options that come with the free version of Google Analytics. The price tag for greater freedom (aka GA 360), however, will run a business at least $150,000 per year.
Understanding what version of Google Analytics is right for your business comes down to your budget, sophistication of measurement needs, and so much more. We’ve broken down the similarities and differences to help you determine the best fit:
GA vs. GA 360
Besides a large discrepancy in price, there are quite a few similarities and differences in the functionalities and uses between GA and GA 360. Doing your due diligence and gathering requirements across your organization and external agency partners will be greatly beneficial in choosing between these two tools. A list of the key similarities and differences between the two tools are below:
- Ability to create custom reports
- Availability of custom dimensions
- Collecting real-time data
- Reporting on mobile, video, and social devices
- Event tracking
- Ability to create different properties and views
- Goal creation
- Content groupings
- The largest difference between GA and GA360 are its sampling abilities. Sampling means that a subset of data has been created to represent the trends and patterns of the larger dataset as a whole. With GA, sampling occurs at the 500,000 session mark but near 100,000,000 sessions in GA360.
- GA 360 has a 20-billion monthly hit limit compared to GA’s 10-million hits per month. A hit is any interaction that brings data to Google Analytics (ex: each time a tracking code is triggered by a user’s behavior). With many clients, the 10-million user hit limit in GA can be a limiting factor that does not allow ‘catchall’ event tags — or event that captures all actions that occur on site — from being created.
- GA 360 enables deeper analysis, allowing you to export up to 3,000,000 rows, compared to just 50,000 in standard Google Analytics.
- GA 360 provides up to 200 custom dimensions and metrics vs. 20 in GA. A custom dimension and metric in GA are user-defined metrics that are not automatically defined within Google Analytics, allowing GA360 to provide more flexibility and creativity.
So, is Google Analytics 360 worth It?
Ultimately, this answer will vary from business to business. Although there are endless possibilities within GA 360, most businesses barely scratch the surface at being able to (or sometimes even needing to) use all the capabilities within GA. The structure and make-up of a business has a strong impact on whether an upgrade to GA360 would be necessary.
Below are several considerations that could be the tipping point for businesses to make the switch:
- Several sub-domains that each have their own GA account
- By switching to GA360, it is a place to house all sub-domains in one parent account without the fear of exceeding the ‘Hit Limit’ within GA listed above
- Strong online presence with continued engagement from their users
- Generally, when we think of strong online presence, that translates to roughly 15–20,000 sessions per day
- Leverage unique dimensions or metrics that are not automatically captured within GA
- Metrics that are specific to your business that would not be found in any analytics platform
- Currently using GA but are continuing to find issues with sampling and / or hitting the count limit
- Sampling within reports leads to inaccuracy, especially when using more complex reports or when pulling larger timeframes
- Struggling with the lack of customization of dimensions and metrics from GA
- GA 360 provides up to 200 custom dimensions and metrics vs only 20 in the standard Google Analytics
- Ease of integration with all of Google’s tools at the enterprise level (Google Ads, AdSense, Ad Manager, Display & Video 360, Search Ads 360, Campaign Manager 360, and Search Console)
- GA 360 also offers the ability to connect to both Salesforce and Google Marketing Platform, while the standard Google Analytics does not
- Have the means to afford GA360 on an annual basis
- GA 360 starts at $150,000 per year; standard GA is free